As played by our jazz bands, the first strain (normally played twice) seems to be in a minor key and involves some arpeggios being prettily run around. The second strain is in the related major key and its main characteristic is that it is a stuttering melody allowing for two two-bar breaks. This is the strain used by most bands for the improvising of solo choruses.
The original words of the song suggest that it's about a 'new dance' in which the ladies 'shake' their taffeta dresses.
However, the tune and lyrics of the third strain dominate in blues singer Charlie Patton's recording entitled Shake It and Break It from 1929. So, although this has the same title, it sounds quite different from the King Oliver version. Charlie plays just this melody - not the two strains heard on the Oliver recording.
When the tune is played today by jazz bands, the third strain is sometimes added to the two previous strains and is played in the same key as the second strain and there is a vocal for this third strain only - a vocal that freely adapts the words of the original.
A reader has kindly sent me a photo-copy of Chiha and Clark's original printed music:
SHAKE IT AND BREAK IT (2)
CLICK HERE for a performance of Weary Blues - played brilliantly by one of today's greatest bands and without the vocal - but under the title of Shake It and Break It.
The books Enjoying Traditional Jazz and Playing Traditional Jazz - both by Pops Coffee - are available from Amazon.